Fling planners provided plastic ponchos for us so at least we could make a run for the pool gazebo. Noelle the Arizona Plant Lady in blue and Victoria Summerly of Tales From Awkward Hill in the green. Diana had worked hard to get her garden ready and we were determined to see it even in the rain. Smiles show we made the best of it but good photos were difficult to say the least.
When we tired of the rain our group huddled in the kitchen and enjoyed fresh fruit and snacks Diana set out.
|Kitchen tour is nice but a garden tour was our goal!
We all knew how it must have felt to see two years of prep work and anticipation come down to this.
We arrived just after 9am on a gorgeous sunny day to enjoy these sweeping curved beds drawing our eye to Diana's beautiful home. No surprise since Diana is a garden designer at Diana's Designs Austin. In addition to designing gardens for clients she blogs at Sharing Nature's Garden and writes the garden column for the Austin American-Statesman.
Without the pouring rain we didn't have to make a mad dash to the front door, and could take our time enjoying colorful beds on both sides of the front walk. This mix of great foliage and bright Mondarda blooms was a preview of Diana's skill at plant placement throughout her gardens.
We enjoyed our walk so much it took us several minutes to reach the door and this welcoming container arrangement. It looks so casual yet clearly a good bit of thought and talent are on display. I made special note of how Diana works bright Talavera pottery into displays throughout her garden since I am adding more Talavera to my own container arrangements.
Shady beds near the front display foliage and textures in contrast with bright tropical flowers elsewhere in the garden. I'm a huge fan of Sparkler Sedge (Carex phyllocephala 'Sparkler') for brightening shade. I even stopped by Barton Spring Nursery, a fling sponsor, on our way home just to purchase three of these. Deep purple cordyline might seem counterintuitive for shade but here it serves to add contrasting color and repeat the spiky texture of the sedge.
Oh so pretty and lush despite an unusually hot summer so far.
Back to that muddy, rainy day when I stuck to the porch carefully avoiding standing water. Several years ago Diana added low stone edging along the walk to keep mulch from washing over. Seeing this on a rainy day certainly highlights how well the idea functions and the importance of taking drainage issues into account when designing your garden.
Diana's container plantings continue to inspire as even the birdbath has been planted up beautifully.
The side garden at the end of the driveway is an area I didn't explore in the rain. Blue ceramic fish are from the Arbor Gate shop near Houston and I even remember when both Diana and Pam Penick wrote about their visit there.
After exploring the woodland shade garden we headed through the pretty side gate into the back yard.
Just inside the gate a custom air conditioner surround Diana designed is a brilliant way to distract the eye from utilities visible from the breakfast table.
Over to the nearby gazebo complete with stone fireplace which Diana told us sold them on the house about 14 years ago.
Colorful flowers replace ponchos this time and reveal a beautiful place to relax in a tropical setting.
Across the pool Lord Baltimore Hibiscus is quite hardy despite its tropical look. I was so impressed with how Diana achieved so much tropical style around her pool since Austin can get quite cold during winter. She told us her microclimate is a bit warmer than most of Austin and the envy of her gardening friends. In fact I noticed she can grow plants that will freeze in San Antonio.
We all wanted a seating space like this at our own homes. I didn't try the chair with its view over the pool to a green space beyond the fence because I might still be sitting there!
More great containers in that view!
Back on the porch a pretty collection by the backdoor coordinates without matching.
More of those bright containers full of blooms and foliage! I especially liked the footed urn shape of that yellow-green pot and have been on the lookout for a similar one.
Just a few of the great details and vignettes found throughout the garden. The birdhouse is another Arbor Gate find. The Indiana license plate planter is a nod to her husband's home state.
Our next destination is the new parterre against the fence. Each quadrant features a different rose with colorful perennials at its feet.
Planting spaces left open in the new stone walkway are filled with colorful and charming portulaca. I loved this idea.
Contrast that with our Fling day visit.
Cosmos against the nearby greenhouse coordinate with the hot colors of portulaca in the walkways.
The corner becomes a place to pause with a gorgeous combination delicately woven together by (what I think is) Clematis pitcheri or Purple Leatherflower.
When Diana visited my garden several years ago she expressed surprise that I lived in a neighborhood and not in the country. In a slight turnabout I had pictured Diana's house as being closer to the city. Her garden is quite a bit larger and farther out of town than I pictured from her blog. She's made it even larger by planting the greenbelt behind her fence.
Friends from San Antonio, Lorraine and April, join Diana (right) in a group photo during our tour.
All too soon after a delicious lunch and fun conversation it was time to leave. Heading back out the driveway.
We paused to look over the planting beds she had built at the street several years ago. She tells the story of how her husband had always left the landscaping to her until she had these beds built and he thought they were "hideous." She explained that his Indiana roots give him a different idea of what landscapes should look like than we might have in Central Texas.
With our eyes naturally attuned to Texas style landscapes we loved the tiered beds filled with wonderful heat tolerant adapted and native plants.
What a beautiful day to tour a wonderful garden! Thank you so much to Diana for welcoming us back for a better look. Contact Diana's Designs Austin to help make your garden this awesome.